Similar to the classic Grenache, yet with even more polish and finesse on the palate, the 2013 Pandora is another monumental effort. Lavender, cassis, black cherry liqueur, flowers and toasted spice emerge from this huge, ethereally textured, sensationally rich Grenache that's every bit as good as the perfect 2012. It needs 2-3 years of cellaring to show at its best, and will have 20 years of overall longevity. If I had to come up with a list of the greatest wine estates in the world, Alban Vineyards would certainly be in there. Readers need to understand that this estate is an anomaly, lying at the very end of the Edna Valley, and the only estate in 50+ miles making wines of this quality.
Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the 2013 Pandora Grenache displays a tantalizing perfume of cherry pie, raspberry preserves, rose hip tea, potpourri and cinnamon stick with hints of white pepper, lavender, black olives and underbrush. Full-bodied and laden with red and black fruit coulis and baking spice layers, it has a firm, appealing chew to the texture and wonderfully savory layers coming through on the long finish. (LPB) 97+
(raised in new 300-liter French oak barrels) Brilliant violet. Deep-pitched cherry and red berry liqueur aromas are complicated by suggestions of exotic Indian spices, minerals and floral oils, accompanied by cola and mocha notes that build in the background. Fleshy and alluringly sweet, offering deeply concentrated black raspberry and boysenberry flavors that are sharpened and given lift by a core of juicy acidity. Finishes alluringly sweet, minerally and extremely long; smooth tannins arrive late to add shape and gentle grip. (JR)
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